Bomb disposal squads to beef up railways safety

Patna: Concerned over frequent Maoist attacks on railway property as well as planting of bombs on railway tracks or inside coaches, the East Central Railway (ECR) has decided to raise bomb detection squads to strengthen security measures in the Reds-prone areas. The ECR has witnessed several incidents of planting bombs under its five divisions during the past six years.

According to RPF chief security commissioner, ECR, Sanjay Kumar, railways had been mulling over the issue for long for elaborate security on railway premises and on running trains. The recent attack on a passenger train near Jamui by Naxalites seems to have hastened the decision on bomb detection squads. Railways had hitherto been depending on the state government for detection of bombs or their defusal if found on tracks or coaches of passenger trains, Kumar said.

According to ECR CPRO Amitabh Prabhakar, ECR GM Madhuresh Kumar has approved the plan for bomb detection squads. A sum of Rs 1 crore has been initially sanctioned to procure the required kits and giving advanced training to RPF personnel, he said.

Sources said the ECR has chalked out a comprehensive plan to introduce bomb detection squads firstly in Maoist-infested Dhanbad division, followed by Danapur, Sonepur and Mughalsarai divisions. An ECR security official entrusted with the task to raise bomb detection squads, said railways would incur an expenditure of about Rs 5 crore to fully raise and train the bomb detection squads in ECR. The squads would make railways more prompt in detecting or defusing any bomb, strengthening security,

ECR has at present seven sniffer dogs, which are being used in Dhanbad and Danapur divisions during the movement of VIP passengers and at the time of departure of Rajdhani and other premier passenger trains. However, railways intends to increase the number of sniffer dogs so that they could be readily available in each division of ECR, an RPF official of Patna Junction said.

That apart, railways has asked RPF personnel to keep a tab on CCTVs installed at all major stations of ECR to ensure tight security on railway platforms, the CPRO said, adding about 500 RPF personnel are engaged in train escort duty.